Why Macs look like Porsches

I was having a surf around the net today, looking for some news to report to all of you Neowin viewers. I happened across a website called folklore.org which provides alleged real life accounts of some of the bigger events in the history of Apple.

The website, created in response to some individual's devotion "to collective historical storytelling. It captures and presents sets of related stories that describe interesting events from multiple perspectives, allowing groups of people to recount their shared history in the form of interlinked anecdotes. Currently, the Folklore site only supports a single project, about the development of the original Macintosh, but that will be changing soon. "

Amongst some of the other accounts by people who have worked closely in the Apple offices in the past is one which I read by a certain Mr Andy Hertsfeld, accompanied by a date of March 1981. The link to which can be found here. Within his anecdote he describes a situation he found himself in whilst working on some coding in Texaco Towers, however it was the office next to him, belonging to a man named Bud, where more interesting discussions were happening.

Hertsfield then describes a situation where Bud and Steve Jobs were discussing one of the original designs of the Macintosh casing. "It's got to be different, different from everything else, James is helping me figure out what the Mac should look like," Jobs told Hertsfield. According to the writer of this piece the pair then likened possible case design to sports cars. Further conversation ensued which I will now quote for you.

"We need it to have a classic look, that won't go out of style, like the Volkswagen Beetle", I heard Steve tell James.

"No, that's not right.", James replied. "The lines should be voluptuous, like a Ferrari."

"Not a Ferrari, that's not right either", Steve responded, apparently excited by the car comparison. "It should be more like a Porsche!" Not so coincidentally, in those days Steve was driving a Porsche 928.

Whilst not any particular news of relevance, this account, assuming its validity, gives a really interesting insight into some of the design processes adopted by the early Apple crew in Texaco Towers. The reasons why people who dismiss Macs as merely 'pretty' are obviously unfounded due to the dismissal of the creative processes which are gone through to ensure the product was, in the words of Jobs: "different from everything else". This is the reason why the Macs we have today are designed in such a way as to stand out. Much like a Porsche.

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"The reasons why people who dismiss Macs as merely 'pretty' are obviously unfounded due to the dismissal of the creative processes which are gone through to ensure the product was, in the words of Jobs: "different from everything else"."

The reasons why some people think the reasons to call Macs "pretty" are unfounded, are unfounded.

"The reasons why people who dismiss Macs as merely 'pretty' are obviously unfounded due to the dismissal of the creative processes which are gone through to ensure the product was, in the words of Jobs: "different from everything else"."


Blah blah blah.

"Designers crafted this water to invoke emotion and feeling."
"Oh? How much does it cost?"
"$124.99 a bottle."
"I'LL TAKE IT."

I never say this about anything on here but this is just dreadful. I'm not anal about only tech news or no editorials being on here but this seems way more suited to be a blog entry. It has a paper-thin thesis, it uses an anecdote as support which sounds more like a creation myth, and even if you ignore the lack of quality content, the title is spelled wrong just to hammer home how bush league this is.

+1

How the hell did this end up in my RSS news feed?
The author found a apple related website, how is that news? Oh, cause its about apple, i should have known

Yes Macs are always shiny and looks like a cool gadget to get and use it as a furniture in your home, but they are behind in quality of technology. Not only the processors are important, where is the HDMI support? Or a BD-ROM? Everyone is having their HD products, but Macs are still don't. Anyhow I agree with the most of the ppl here that performance matters, and Vaio is a great example of design and performance both implemented together. Apple is still advanced on software, I have been keeping an eye on their hardware changes, and that doesn't satisfied me at all. So I was a 15year old PC user, decided to stick on it just because of this hardware issue.

More properly:

Mac, January 1984


1981 Porsche 928

Neither one displaying anything we would recognize as "classic lines."

Just think, in 25 years, the iPhones will look that way to us too.

Where are the wheels?

Macs don't look like Porsches. And if Mac's OS X had to support device drivers developed outside Apple the way Windows does, it would have the same issues.

The whole story was silly. Mac is a computer. Porsche is a car. There's no similarity.

Apple and Porsche both market an image (that of cool) more than products, and we always fall for it. They are masters of consumerism.

antareus said,
Apple and Porsche both market an image (that of cool) more than products, and we always fall for it. They are masters of consumerism.

+1 You hit the nail right on the head there my friend. This is exactly what the conversation was aiming for (if factually accurate) and which this article failed to convey. It's the sense of 'cool' they were going for. The ability to look at an object and instantly know who makes it without having to even look at the logo.

Take a look at any Porsche and you'll know right away, even if you're not exactly a car enthusiast, that it's a Porsche. The same goes for Apple and their computers. Whether you like them or not, this is not the point. They are instantly recognizable and I believe this is the heart of what Steve Jobs was getting at when he said, "They need to look like a Porsche!"*

* this is entirely based on whether or not this conversation indeed took place.

I believe you mean "There was no apostrophe needed in the title." Do you really want to play grammar Nazi? Don't use broken fragments for statements

One funny thing is there are a load of Porsche fanboys much like the Mac. Don't ever think of critising anything Porsche on car forums or there's real trouble especially if you say they're a one design company.

Having read the article, I still don't know how a Mac physically resembles a Porsche. Furthermore, I don't see how this inconsequential 28-year-old conversation has any modern or technological relevance whatsoever.

You obviously didn't read it very well then or you would have read the bits about Steve saying ""We need it to have a classic look, that won't go out of style..." and "It should be more like a Porsche!"

Explain to me how the Mac of 2009 has the same characteristic design elements of one manufactured in 1981. It doesn't. You can't possibly try to justify that going from essentially a beige rounded-rectangular prism to an almost spherical white profile is a classic, continuous look. A Porsche's ovular headlights or a BMW's kidney-shaped grille are classic looks that "won't go out of style" and you can recognize in a continuous evolution of a product. A Mac isn't.

More obviously, you naïvely assume that whatever information is presented to you is factually accurate, and pertinent (which I notice you didn't even attempt to argue).

Must have. The status of 'unprofessional journalist' doesn't justify publication of works saturated with blatant grammatical errors, nor does it make such works 'look better.'

Oh, come on.

iz not lik ppl r talkin lik dis all de tyme.

We're educated enough to know what someone's saying; it's not butchering the English language.

Relax.

Given the short upgrade cycle computers must have, being super robust like Macs is not really that wise. They are pretty and expensive, like famous whores... that's all.

I cringe every time I see an apple news post here on Neowin. Why? because I see so much ignorance. Personally, I use both a mac and a pc for several hours a day (I do design and leasure work with occasional WoW) on my mac, and mostly gaming on my pc. Both have well written OS's and usually competitive hardware. If you want a pc, great! I'm sure you could find a great deal with features you would enjoy. If you want a mac, great! I'm sure you'd enjoy that just as much, as well. The marketing by both Mac and Microsoft is doing EXACTLY what it was meant to do... to make you guys argue against each other all day long but at the end of the day computing has gone a long way, and whatever your choice for computing, odds are it will "Just Work."

edit: I just also wanted to add that almost every post doesnt discuss any part of the actual article. Zip up boys, the wizz contests are getting old.

Lol, the case has a special mac essence that protects the Nvidia card. haha.

I don't need a fancy case, I want the components. Cuz anyways, the case isn't gonna make Crysis run, it's the guts that do that!

You can use that argument for most products, including cars, but if people want to spend their money on a nice case then so what?